Monday, January 18, 2010

Trivia Wars Bonus Material

This column started as a 1,300 word short story and there was a lot of stuff that landed on the cutting room floor. Fortunately I was smart enough to think of this Bonus Feature idea so I can include some of it in this space.

> I was going to start the column with the following about Ben Affleck but other than cranking out a few good jokes, it really didn't add anything to the story I was trying to tell. It took me a long time to finally cut it because I really liked it but at least I can include it here:

What have I ever done to Ben Affleck?

I apparently must have committed some kind of egregious offense against the movie star, because he keeps ruining my life.

First of all, he will occasionally make a decent film to lure me back in, only to follow it up with a string of bombs that are so bad, he might as well take my money at gunpoint and save me the trouble of wasting the time. For every Good Will Hunting and Dogma, there have been ten Giglis and Daredevils.

Contributing to the delinquency of moviegoers is one thing, but now Affleck is attacking me in my everyday life.

> The other thing that was really hard to leave out was referencing the college football game a couple of years ago between Kentucky and LSU. The Wildcats took a late lead and were so excited about upsetting the Tigers that some of the Kentucky players even dumped the Gatorade all over their coach only to witness LSU win on a miracle pass on the last play of the game. The Bull and I couldn't help but make the comparison at the bar after we had lost the other night. You should have seen the way we prematurely celebrated the win only to have Moe pull the rug out from under us.

Here are the video highlights of that Kentucky-LSU game (including the Gatorade bath):

> And finally, as bad as this experience was, nothing will ever top my Frasier trivia disaster back in Virginia. I wanted to reference this one too, but again, it didn't add anything to this particular story.

I still have a hard time reliving this nightmare but here it is in case you do:


I will never forgive myself for what I did last night. There is no punishment or shame that anyone could heap upon me that could be worse than the mental torture that I'm still putting myself through a day later.

It all started innocently enough... it always does.

I was hanging out with my buddy Paul at the Monarch Sports Grille in downtown Norfolk at Old Dominion University (PS. this is my new favorite place in the world. It's the nicest, cleanest sports bar in town and even though it's on the ODU campus, it's part of the new Marriott hotel so it's upscale enough to keep out the cheap, noisy college riff-raff).

The Monarch is right around the corner from my Girlfriend's new apartment, so I've been stopping in regularly to catch a few innings of a Phillies game or just hang out for a while - and by "stopping in regularly", I mean that the entire wait staff knows me by name now, knows my drink of choice without me asking anymore, and they've even started turning the channel to the Phillies games as I walk in the door without me asking. Now if I can only get them all to shout out "Josh!" in unison as I walk in like the gang did for Norm Peterson on "Cheers", I'd be set.

All that to say, that I've been hanging out at the Monarch enough to know that they hold a Trivia Night on Wednesdays and my team has come in second place the last two weeks. The first time we played, I was there with my Girlfriend and some of her friends and I thought the trivia was fun but was paying more attention to the TV than the questions. It wasn't until we won a $25 gift certificate to the Monarch (that covered our tab that night) that I was hooked and have now made it part of my regular weekly routine.

The girls couldn't make it last night so it was just me and Paul and a nice guy we met, Don, that was staying in the hotel on business (my Girlfriend made it for the bonus round, but more on that in a minute).

Here's how Trivia Night works at the Monarch: there are four rounds with four questions in each round. The guy who runs the game asks a question over the microphone and you have like three minutes to write your answer down on a piece of paper they give you and then turn it in. Each question in the first round is worth 10 points, each is worth 20 in the second, and so on.

Then comes the crucial bonus round.

There are only four questions in the bonus round. The first one is worth 20 points, the second is worth 40, the third is worth 60 and the fourth is worth 80. The catch to the bonus round is that if you answer a question incorrectly, those point values are deducted from your score, so you gotta play it safe and skip a question if you just don't know it.

Then there's a final jeopardy round where you can wager your points based on the final category and then you have three minutes to answer the final question.

So, we were plugging along and were tied for second going into the bonus round. There was one group of guys who were answering EVERYTHING correct and were way ahead so we knew we had to make up some ground and be aggressive in the bonus round.

We got the first one right, skipped on the second, and then my Girlfriend showed up just as we were trying to answer the third (what are the only two Great Lakes that only border one U.S. state). We had Ontario but she swooped in and reminded us of Huron, so we got that one right and then were treated to a gimmie with the fourth bonus question (what actress has won the most Best Lead Actress Oscar awards - Katherine Hepburn, thank you very much).

With getting three out of four in the bonus round, we had moved up to 300 total points and were all alone in second place behind the group who now had 460 points. We knew we had to swing for the fences on the final jeopardy question, but it would all come down to how much we would wager on the category.

Two weeks ago, the category was "Inventors" and last week the category was "Geography", so I was prepared to be cautious, but starting doing a victory dance when the guy announced our final category was "Television".


The ONE thing I know more about than anything else on the planet.

I couldn't believe it. Paul and I wanted to wager it all and even though my Girlfriend trusted me, she wanted to play it safe and just leave a little in case of the worst.

I was so excited, I proceeded to give her some incoherent, rousing speech on how I would carry us and if there was ever a category, NAY, a moment to go all in on something, this was it. She finally conceded and I turned in our wager of 300 points and then we waited for the final question.

The thing that I will always take from what happened next is how simple the question was and how SURE I was of the answer.

"What television series holds the record of winning 37 primetime Emmy awards?"

That was it.

Instantly, my Girlfriend and Paul looked at me and said "Frasier!!"

My Girlfriend was so excited because this was a slam-dunk question about my favorite show of all time.

"No." I said calmly as I began to write two little letters on the sheet of paper:

"E" and "R".

"Really?" My Girlfriend said. "I thought 'Frasier' won the most Emmys," Paul added.

"Frasier holds the record for most Outstanding Comedy Series wins with five," I said astutely in all of my vast wisdom and knowledge. "'ER' has the most awards."

Some people around the bar were mentioning "Seinfeld" and "M*A*S*H*" ran through my head for a moment, but the more I thought about it, the more convinced I was that it was "ER".

Here was my thinking: "ER" has been on FOREVER. It's had so many guest directors and guest stars, not to mention a brand new cast every other year. I just thought there were too many opportunities for nominations and awards and I just COULDN'T THINK of how "Frasier" would be at 37 total awards. I knew it had won the five Outstanding Comedy Series Emmys, I knew it had won a couple of writing and guest star awards, and I knew Kelsey Grammar and David Hyde Pierce had won a couple acting statues; but in my brain I just couldn't get the total past 20-25, AT THE MOST.

At this point, I was supremely confident and we turned in our slip of paper and waited.

I actually stood up as he made the announcement.

And then, everything went silent.

It was like getting shot in the heart by an arrow from a bow. Instant, overwhelming pain and then nothing. I actually got woozy and almost missed my seat as I fell backwards.


My favorite show of all time.


The show I would actually die defending as the greatest scripted series ever.


The REASON why I love sitcoms and why I am writing a post on a pop culture website RIGHT NOW.


I still can't believe it - but sure enough, it's true (Click here for all of "Frasier's" nominations and awards).


I looked it all up when I got home and in my defense, "ER" has been NOMINATED for the most Emmys ever (122) so I guess I heard that somewhere and the wires in my brain got crossed.

But how did I not know that about "Frasier"? I'm the guy that can tell you every episode from every season (almost in order) but I don't know that they've won the most Emmys of all-time?? That would be like if you were a life-long Yankees fan and didn't know that they have the most World Series titles or something.

Grossly unacceptable.

The team that was way ahead got the answer right (of course) and won going away. Fortunately for us, everyone else got the answer wrong as well and there was a three-way tie for second place.

I kinda redeemed myself with winning the tie-breaker question (Which of the following was NOT an actual G.I. Joe character: Beachhead, Hummer, Snow Job - the answer of course, would be Hummer) so we maintained our second place title for yet another week.

Even though we wouldn't have won even if we had gotten the answer correct, I HAVE to get that one... right? Should my rights as a "Frasier" fan be suspended indefinitely? Should I not be able to watch reruns for a specified probation period?

I honestly didn't know what to do next.

Dejected and defeated, I couldn't stop thinking about it when I got home. After searching for all of this information online, I was still restless so I threw in a season five episode on my DVD player. It took a while but I finally relaxed because of the simple knowledge that in my mind, and in the record books, "Frasier" will always be the best.

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